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July 1, 2002

Serena Williams

Wimbledon, England

MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. As someone who is very self-critical, you're never quite perfect enough for yourself, how could you possibly criticize this performance today?

SERENA WILLIAMS: You're kidding, right?

Q. I'm not kidding. You were great.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Thank you. No, I -- here I go again. There's always room for improvement. I think I missed a few too many returns. She kept serving me out wide. You know what, I had it every time. But every time it's like I missed it. I don't know. That's like my favorite serve to receive. I think I just could have done a little better on the returns.

Q. Were you worried about getting swallowed by the tarp when you were walking off the court?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I almost got ran over. But I survived. I'm a survivor. I made it to another day.

Q. What do you do during a rain delay like that?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I just went out to stretch. I stretched a bit, just to relax and cool down. It was important, very much, to stay focused and just stay relaxed, not get too tense.

Q. How does this second week feel to last year's second week in terms of where you are tennis-wise, confidence-wise?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, confidence-wise, I guess I have a lot more confidence now. I have a few more titles under my belt. I think my game is better. I'm mentally stronger. I'm higher ranked. You know what, I'm really having fun. And the second week, like I said, you really have to buckle down and get really serious.

Q. After watching your sister win it two years in a row, is there anything you learned from her experiences? Have you tried to adopt any of the things that she does, especially in week two, as she closed out the tournament two years in a row?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, she definitely picks up her game during every week during week two. Even today, you see she had a very good win, a very solid match. If I'm going to be able to compete with her, I have to pick up my game also.

Q. Does it give you confidence to beat Chanda since she had been playing so well coming in here, you had so many clean winners, there were a lot of balls she just couldn't get to?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I had to go out there and I really focused for this match because Chanda's been playing great. She won the Eastbourne tournament easily. She really didn't have any trouble there at all. And here, she's been doing very well. When you play a player like this -- and she's a good player. She just was injured for a little bit. Actually, she's 27 now, I believe. So to be injured that long and to jump back in the rankings so quickly, you know, obviously I was going up against a very good player. I knew I really had to be focused today or go home.

Q. You dominated her with winners.


Q. She wasn't anywhere near it.

SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't remember hitting a lot of winners. I was, you know, really focused today. I really wanted and needed the win.

Q. When you're in a match and you're hitting the winners, cross-court, you're running the people all over, can anybody other than Venus get to all of your shots, assuming Venus can?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, there's a lot of people who are running very fast these days. Jennifer Capriati tends to run down a lot of my shots, as well as Justine Henin. Obviously, Venus seems to get all my shots. But I've been practicing against her. And in practice, she's just getting all my balls. And then now when I'm going against these other players, I get as many. So I guess that really helps me out a lot.

Q. The forced errors that you got from her today, aren't those just as critical as the outright winners?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, they are. I think I have definitely had more forced errors than I did outright winners. I haven't been able to look at the stats yet. I think that's definitely as critical, if not more, because it gets your opponent to thinking, "Wow, I have to go for a better shot."

Q. Do you and Venus ever discuss the way of dealing with the possibility of overconfidence when you're facing players in the early rounds, the middle rounds? How do you deal with the possibility of overconfidence?

SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, I never -- I had overconfidence maybe once in my career, and I proceeded to lose that match. So I was reading one time where Billie Jean King said whenever she went out to play anyone, especially if they were ranked lower, she played them as if they were the No. 1 player in the world. And I think it's very important not to get overconfident because for us, everyone wants to beat a Williams right now. We're the top players. Everyone wants to beat us. So they're obviously, even in the past before I was No. 2, everyone was bringing their best game against me. This helped me out a lot, obviously. But, still, they're still bringing their best game. So I have to make sure I'm ready because anything can happen.

Q. Is that a challenge, though, mentally to not look ahead when you know that the toughest players you're going to face are not going to be until later in the week?

SERENA WILLIAMS: That's not necessarily true all the time. I played a really tough player in the fourth round of the French Open. There's a lot of young players coming up, a lot of new faces. So I don't think that's necessarily, you know, true.

Q. Last week Lennox Lewis told us what he liked best about you and Venus. What qualities with Lennox did you like the best?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I'm a huge fan of his. I went to the Rock Man fight. And I saw his David II. I wasn't obviously able to go to the last one. You know, every time he walks out there, before he's walking out, I can tell he's going to win because he's really focused and he has this look in his eyes. Like I saw on TV before he fought Mike, he looked really much more focused than Tyson did. I don't know. He's a good boxer. I don't know, I like his hair (laughter). I think it's really cool.

Q. A similar one on one quality in boxing as in tennis?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, definitely. If you lose your focus in boxing, you know, you could be knocked out. I think maybe also in tennis, before you know it you could be down 5-Love.

Q. You mentioned a minute ago that you needed this victory. You had a bit of a tough go of it in the last round. Were you itching over the weekend to get back and play close to your best game?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I definitely wasn't itching to get back. I just was more or less ready to play a little better. Yeah, I really went out, practiced a couple days. I just tried to, you know, be a little more serious in my practice, the way I was in Paris. Because you can't win one Slam and slack off. I think maybe I slacked off a little bit. But I'm back.

Q. Among the top players on the tour, Capriati is a player who likes to work the point a little bit, not necessarily just go for the winner off the first shot. Venus seems to be getting a little bit more like that. You're still a very super aggressive player. Is that just your style? Is that the way you decided you want to play, aggressive as possible on every ball that you have an opportunity to hit?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, it depends. It just depends basically probably on how I'm feeling that day. I think if I need to, I can get 50 balls over. I mean, you have to be able to do this on the clay. I can hit whatever. I think if I need to, I can work the ball around a little. I love to run people. So it just -- and I love running. So for me, it's just -- I don't know. Venus is definitely getting more like that. Maybe next year or a couple years, I'll be more like that, too. But it just really depends. I don't necessarily always hit winners. It just depends.

Q. Your rise to the rankings, 1 and 2, seemed to be scrutinized by Jennifer Capriati, who said you might not have gotten there if Lindsay and Martina were still around. Do you take those comments as disrespectful?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No. I actually read the transcripts of what she said. It wasn't really put like that. You know, Jennifer is a nice girl. We always get along. We have tough matches. It's great for the fans to watch us. So I think maybe it was mixed up a little bit.

Q. You don't ever take her as maybe having it in for you two?

SERENA WILLIAMS: No, definitely not. She's a champion and a competitor, and we're all here to compete. We're not, you know, in a cat fight. We're all just out to do the best for ourselves and, you know, the tour.

Q. Do you think to be a champion and to maintain your toughness on tour, you have to be a little bit selfish?


Q. Any way. You know, you have to make sure that things are going your way during a tournament, you can't be distracted with anything going on in the outside world.

SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, definitely, yeah. I think you have to definitely not get distracted. And I guess if that's a way of being selfish, then ... You know, you can be selfish till you're 30, then you have the rest of your life, so...

Q. Do you think you have to have a little bit of an attitude? Is that part of the game in any way, an aura to you when you're out there?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, you know, I really don't know. I think Steffi Graf, when she was on top, she was very quiet. And Monica, also. She's still very quiet. I think champions always just have that distinct, you know, something about them. I don't know about the men. But I just think maybe they're just a little more quiet, a little more to themselves, a little more focused at all times.

Q. What is your schedule during the tournament when you're not playing a match?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, I just stay at home mostly, at the house. I read. I finished a couple books already. I'm starting a new one. So that's about it.

Q. What are you reading?

SERENA WILLIAMS: What is it? I can't remember. I haven't started it yet. I can't remember the name of the author. I just finished a couple Marian Keyes books. They were really good.

Q. Who is the best grass court women's player you've either played or have seen play?

SERENA WILLIAMS: I couldn't answer that question. Obviously, you have Martina Navratilova and Steffi Graf, who won, what, seven Wimbledons maybe. Martina won nine. Venus two (laughter). It's just -- I can't really say. It's very difficult. If you want to go back with Billie Jean King and Margaret Court. I think it's impossible.

End of FastScripts….

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